People & Places with Pierce: Riverwatch Brewery

Brey Sloan, owner and brewer at Riverwatch Brewery says: “Riverwatch Brewery got started really about 7 years ago in Burma in southeast Asia.”

That’s a far cry from Augusta, Georgia. But there’s a story behind that.

“I was assigned there as the defense attaché for the army,” explained Brey Sloan. “I had to do a lot of entertaining in my job. I couldn’t import beer but I could have people mail me the ingredients, so we made all of our own beer. After I retired I went to study brewing science and then we opened this.”

Anne Sloan, Brey’s daughter and another owner and brewer at Riverwatch Brewery adds: “We offer pretty much the whole gamut. We do blonde ales, IPAs, pale ales. We do a Belgian Chappelle. We do a milk stout.”

“I think we probably have about 40 different beers that we have served,” continued Brey Sloan.

Riverwatch Brewery is a place of firsts. First brewery in Augusta since prohibition, first and perhaps only mother-daughter brewing team in the world. But despite all of those firsts and the accolades that come with them, there’s an even stronger force guiding these two women.

“While I was in Germany finishing up the schooling, my husband unexpectedly passed away,” said Brey Sloan.

“I like to tell people I literally fell into beer because I wasn’t going to do the brewery,” added Anne Sloan. “It was going to be my mom and my dad and when he passed away, I stepped in.”

“We were married for 28 years,” said Brey Sloan. “He was by my side for everything. It’s very sad for a lot of reasons that he’s not here because he would have loved this.”

“I know he’s proud,” said Anne Sloan. “I think he would just be amazed. We’ve learned a lot. The stuff that he would have done we’ve had to learn to do.”

“He probably laughs at me when I’m trying to figure out the plumbing stuff,” added Brey Sloan. “I kind of get these echos of, you know, don’t do that!”

He may be gone, but he’s still very much here.

“After he died while I was cleaning this place one day this dragonfly came in,” explained Brey Sloan. “This one kept coming up and divebombing me. It bonked me on the head and would fly off. I figure it was Rick probably coming to say hi so yeah he’s very much a part of this even now.”

“I think we really brought something to Augusta and the fact that our owners are here, our owners are working, I think that really is a big part of what Augusta in and of itself really is too,” said Anne Sloan.

So grab your friends, take a seat, and enjoy a taste of the brewed life.

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